John 14:17
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
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(17) Even the Spirit of truth.—Comp. John 15:26; John 16:13, and 1John 5:6. He is called the Spirit of Truth, because part of His special office is to bring truth home to the hearts of men, to carry it from the material to the moral sphere, to make it something more than a collection of signs seen or heard—a living power in living men.

Whom the world cannot receive.—The Holy Spirit can be received only by those who have the spiritual faculty. It cannot be otherwise. The unbelieving world, caring only for things of the senses, has lost its spiritual perception. It has no eye to see and no heart to know spiritual things, for they are spiritually discerned. (Comp. Note on 1Corinthians 2:14.)

But ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.—The better text is,. . . . and is in you. The verbs are in the present tense, describing the receptivity of the disciples as opposed to the moral blindness of the world. They had, during our Lord’s work and teaching in their midst, exercised and strengthened their spiritual faculties. They had in part received the Spirit, and by that reception were prepared for the fuller gift. They knew Him. He was in their midst. He was then, and therefore should be in the future, a living power, dwelling in their inmost life.

14:12-17 Whatever we ask in Christ's name, that shall be for our good, and suitable to our state, he shall give it to us. To ask in Christ's name, is to plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ's mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here, signifies an advocate, counsellor, monitor, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere, plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfections. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon the disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favour God bears to his chosen. As the source of holiness and happiness, the Holy Spirit will abide with every believer for ever.The Spirit of truth - He is thus called here because he would teach them the truth, or would guide them into all truth, John 16:13. He would keep them from all error, and teach them the truth, which, either by writing or preaching, they were to communicate to others.

The world - The term world is often used to denote all who are entirely under the influence of the things of this world - pride, ambition, and pleasure; all who are not Christians, and especially all who are addicted to gross vices and pursuits, 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 11:32; John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Cannot receive - Cannot admit as a Teacher or Comforter, or cannot receive in his offices of enlightening and purifying. The reason why they could not do this is immediately added.

Because it seeth him not - The men of the world are under the influence of the senses. They walk by sight, and not by faith. Hence, what they cannot perceive by their senses, what does not gratify their sight, or taste, or feeling, makes no impression on them. As they cannot see the operations of the Spirit John 3:8, they judge that all that is said of his influence is delusive, and hence, they cannot receive him. They have an erroneous mode of judging of what is for the welfare of man.

Neither knoweth him - To know, in the Scriptures, often means more than the act of the mind in simply understanding a thing. It denotes every act or emotion of the mind that is requisite in receiving the proper impression of a truth. Hence, it often includes the idea of "approbation," of "love," of "cordial feeling," Psalm 1:6; Psalm 37:18; Psalm 138:6; Nahum 1:7; 2 Timothy 2:19. In this place it means the approbation of the heart; and as the people of the world do not approve of or desire the aid of the Spirit, so it is said they cannot receive him. They have no love for him, and they reject him. Men often consider his work in the conversion of sinners and in revivals as delusion. They love the world so much that they cannot understand his work or embrace him.

He dwelleth in you - The Spirit dwells in Christians by his sacred influences. There is no personal union, no physical indwelling, for God is essentially present in one place as much as in another; but he works in us repentance, peace, joy, meekness, etc. He teaches us, guides us, and comforts us. See the notes at Galatians 5:22-24. Thus, he is said to dwell in us when we are made pure, peaceable, holy, humble; when we become like him, and cherish his sacred influences. The word "dwelleth" means to remain with them. Jesus was to be taken away, but the Spirit would remain. It is also implied that they would know his presence, and have assurance that they were under his guidance. This was true of the apostles as inspired men, and it is true of all Christians that by ascertaining that they have the "graces of the Spirit" - joy, peace, long-suffering, etc. they know that they are the children of God, 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:10.

17. whom the world cannot receive, &c.—(See 1Co 2:14).

he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you—Though the proper fulness of both these was yet future, our Lord, by using both the present and the future, seems plainly to say that they already had the germ of this great blessing.

He here explains himself, and tells them, that by that other Comforter, mentioned John 14:16, he meant the Spirit; whom he here calls the Spirit of truth, either because he is a Spirit that declareth and revealeth the truth, as in 1Jo 5:6, or because he teacheth us truth, 1Jo 2:27, he guides us into all truth, John 16:13; or in opposition to the lying spirit of the devil, 1 Kings 22:22. Most probably the Holy Spirit is here called

the Spirit of truth, because of the efficiency be hath as to it. It is he who hath revealed all the truth contained in the Scriptures to the world. Holy men wrote as they were inspired by him, Acts 1:16 2 Peter 1:21. It is he that more particularly and specially revealeth truth to the particular soul, 1 Corinthians 2:12; hence persons enlightened, are said to be made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Hebrews 6:4. He leadeth his people into truth, John 16:13; he sealeth and confirmeth truth to the soul: hence we read of the demonstration of the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:4. This Spirit of truth, the world, that is, men of carnal hearts, that are of the world, and in whom worldly lusts predominate, 1Jo 2:16 John 17:9; this world, through natural impotency, 1 Corinthians 2:14, through wisdom, 1 Corinthians 1:21, through lusts and passions, cannot receive, that is, be made partakers of; because it neither seeth him, who is not to be seen with mortal eyes, nor knoweth him affectionately and experimentally; he being not to be known by men whose hearts are carnal and full of lusts:

but ye know him believingly, experimentally, affectionately, savingly; for he dwelleth in you by a mystical union, Romans 8:11 1 Corinthians 6:17; and he shall abide with you, by his dwelling in you, and influences upon you.

Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive,.... These words explain who is meant by the Comforter, "even the Spirit of truth"; the true Spirit of God, the dictator of the Scriptures of truth, who leads men into the truths of the Gospel, confirms them in them, and gives boldness and freedom to own, and confess them before men:

whom the world cannot receive; the men of the world, who are as they came into the world, carnal and natural men, can neither receive the Spirit nor the things of the Spirit, the truths and doctrines of the Gospel; they can neither receive them into their understandings, nor into their affections; and indeed, because they cannot understand them, therefore they do not love them, but despise and hate them:

because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; the world, and the men of it, can neither see him with their bodily eyes, because he is a "spirit"; nor know him with their understandings, because he is the "Spirit of truth", which they are ignorant of, for want of a spiritual discerning.

But ye know him; as a spirit of illumination, regeneration, and conversion:

for he dwelleth with you; he is an inhabitant in your hearts, he has taken up his residence in you as his temples:

and shall be in you; as a Comforter, when I am gone from you; and as a spirit of truth to guide you into all truth, to stand by you, and assist you in preaching it, and to enable you to bear a faithful and glorious testimony for it.

Even the {g} Spirit of truth; whom the {h} world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

(g) The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth by reason of that which he does, because he inspires the truth into us, because he has the truth in himself.

(h) Worldly men.

17. the Spirit of truth] This expression confirms the rendering ‘Advocate.’ Truth is much more closely connected with the idea of advocating a cause than with that of comforting. Comp. John 15:26, John 16:13; 1 John 5:6. The Paraclete is the Spirit of Truth as being the Bearer of the Divine revelation, bringing truth home to the hearts of men. In 1 John 4:6 it is opposed to the ‘spirit of error.’ Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:12.

the world] See notes on John 1:9-10.

it seeth him not] Because the Spirit and ‘the things of the Spirit’ must be ‘spiritually discerned.’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). The world may have intelligence, scientific investigation, criticism, learning; but not by these means is the Spirit of Truth contemplated and recognised; rather by humility, self-investigation, faith, and love.

for he dwelleth] Because He abideth: it is the same Greek word as in the previous clause. Comp. John 14:28.

and shall be in you] A reading of higher authority gives us, ‘and is in you.’ All the verbs are in the present tense. The Spirit was in the Apostles already, though not in the fulness of Pentecost.

Note throughout these two verses (16, 17) the definite personality of the Spirit, distinct both from the Father Who gives Him and from the Son Who promises Him. Note also the three prepositions (in John 14:16-17): the Advocate is with us for fellowship (meta); He abides by our side to defend us (para); He is in us as a source of power to each individually (en).

John 14:17. Τὸ Πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας, the Spirit of truth) A most admirably-chosen appellation: ch. John 16:13, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” The Spirit, who has the truth, reveals it, namely, by giving knowledge in the understanding; confers it by experimental proof and taste in the case of the will; testifies of it to others also through those to whom He has revealed it; and defends that truth, of which ch. John 1:17 speaks, “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” For which reason He is also called “the Spirit of grace” in Hebrews 10:29, where there goes before “the blood of the Testament,” viz. the New Testament [which is attested by the Holy Spirit; the grace and the testimony of the Spirit being thus joined together]. It is the truth that makes all virtues in us true and real. Otherwise (without it) there is a kind of knowledge that is false, faith that is false, love that is false, hope that is false: but there is no such thing as truth that is false.—ὃ ὁ κὁσαος, which the world) Along with the first mention of the Holy Spirit begins the distinction between believers and the world, a distinction which repeatedly recurs. The Son is said to have been sent into the world: but not so the Holy Spirit. The world sees not the Holy Spirit, according to this passage, and shall not see Jesus hereafter, according to John 14:19, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more.”—οὐ δύναται λαβεῖν, cannot receive) Although God is willing to give to all.—ὅτι, because) There is a kind of Epanodos.[350] “The world doth not receive, BECAUSE it doth not know; ye know, BECAUSE ye have Him.” Therefore to know and to have are so conjoined, that not to know is the cause of not having, and to have is the cause of knowing. Comp. ch. John 4:10, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is, etc., thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” The world doth not know; therefore it doth not ask; therefore it cannot receive: whereas to others God does give.—οὐ θεωρεῖ, seeth Him not) Do believers, then, see Him? They see Him in His operations. Unbelievers also see Him in His operations; but they do not perceive that it is He, and that He is the Spirit of truth; wherefore they cannot receive Him: whereas believers not only see Him, but also perceive that He is the same Spirit.—ὑμεῖς, ye) This is the emphatic word in the sentence.—γινώσκετε, ye know) This denotes an event immediately about to take place.—ὅτι, because) From the indwelling of the Spirit comes the intimate acquaintance: John 14:21-22, “He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him. Judas saith—How is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus said, If a man love Me, etc., we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”—παρʼ ὑμῖνἐν ὑμῖν, with you—in you) These particles differ: In is something more than with.

[350] Repetition of the same words in an inverted order: Galatians 3:21. See Append. on this figure and this passage.—E. and T.

John 14:17The Spirit of Truth

"A most exquisite title," says Bengel. The Spirit, who has the truth, reveals it, by knowledge in the understanding; confers it by practical proof and taste in the will; testifies of it to others also through those to whom He has revealed it; and defends that truth, of which John 1:17 speaks, grace and truth.... The truth makes all our virtues true. Otherwise there is a kind of false knowledge, false faith, false hope, false love; but there is no such thing as false truth."

The world

See on John 1:9.

Shall be in you

Some editors read, ἐστίν, is in you.

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